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Kle    122

James and Kyle relaxed in a bar in a Chicago. James watched Kyle curiously. He kept going over the past few weeks in his mind. The sight of Kyle's body on the floor at the party, the various groups all arguing over who he belonged to and the phone call. James couldn't put into words how happy he was to have Kyle back.

However something seemed strange. Kyle seemed to hum, almost vibrate with an energy he had never seen before. Kyle had always been full of energy but this was different. It was as if he was slightly out of focus. Not enough to be noticeable to the average person but if you were around him long enough you'd see it. Something had happened to him in Egypt and James was curious.

Kyle noticed James staring at him. "Are you ok?" He asked

"Huh?" James asked "Oh yes. Just glad to have you back." Kyle looked at him curiously.

"You keep saying back. I mean I know I must have got pretty wasted at the reception but I wasn't gone that long" James sighed. Kyle kept asking. He could only hide it so long.

"There was a significant period of time between the reception and Egypt" James said quietly. "A lot happened" Kyle put down his drink. He could see something was troubling James. "There was about three weeks." Kyle remained silent. He knew that wasn't the half of the story. "You might find this a bit difficult to understand but bear with me" Kyle nodded

"You were shot at the reception. Normally that's not an issue but the assassin had used Anti-anima rounds." Kyle looked slightly shocked.

"Wait you mean.." He began.

"Yes." James replied simply. "But that wasn't the half of it. The assassin was a man called James Armstrong. You probably know him better as Kermit" Kyle swore under his breath. "Sanctuary took you in but Temple Hall intervened and your care was managed by ODO, shortly after that you were found in Egypt. Nobody knows how you got there or what happened."

Kyle sat in silence for a while. Eventually he said "Do we know why Kermit would do something like that?" Damn, James thought. He had hoped Kyle wouldn't ask too many questions. At least not so soon anyway.

"From what he's told Sanctuary he was basically hired by a man named Watanabe" James replied cautiously

"He's at Sanctuary?" Kyle asked quickly

"He handed himself over. He wants to join" James left it hanging there.

Kyle looked at James. For a moment James was worried that tables were going to get overthrown and magic was going to start flying. Eventually Kyle calmly said "That’s quite smart of Kermit" James waited, he was curious to see what Kyle’s take on this was. "He knows that if Sanctuary accepts him, he'll be protected from Watanabe and from me." James sat back and looked Kyle over. For a man who had just been told that he had been dead for three weeks and his killer was being given refuge by the organisation he worked for, Kyle seemed amazingly calm.  A little too calm.

“Doesn't that worry you?” James asked. He couldn't help himself. He wanted to get to bottom of this. “The idea that Armstrong may become a full fledged member of Sanctuary?” Kyle looked at him puzzled.

“Everyone deserves a second chance.” He said simply. “So what’s on the schedule today? There’s a comic convention nearby that I’ve been dying to check out…” Kyle saw the look on James’ face and mistook it for one of disgust at a tasteless joke. “Oh lighten up. We’re here to enjoy ourselves. Lets leave the paperwork to Sanctuary.” Kyle leaned in closer. “If you like we can always just go back to the hotel room” He winked slyly. James smiled.

“Really?” He asked “We've only just got out of bed” Kyle leaned back and took another sip on his bourbon

“Well it is our honeymoon” He laughed “And a long overdue one from what you tell me”

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RecordKeeper    27

Sophia sat at her desk. Her meeting with Rayne had been an unwelcome addition to an already complex situation. How much did she know? How much did Sophia know when I came to it? She sat back and pondered to herself. She had gone through all the records that she could find in the archives. As far as she could make out Sanctuary had no spies. It generally didn't have the need for them. Usually Sanctuary's operations didn't require information of a sensitive nature. Oh it was true that agents would occasionally hand over information. But it was usually of their own volition and it was not compulsory.

Auroris however was a different kettle of fish. It was common knowledge that he had spies everywhere. Well he would probably refer to it as an information network, but it all amounted to the same thing. The informants were usually people who owed him something. Sooner or later everyone owed him something. The problem was that more and more His actions were being seen as those of Sanctuary's. She would need to have words with him. This was getting out of hand.

Sanctuary was supposed to be a relatively neutral agency. It might be amusing to wind up the factions. Hell she enjoyed knocking the Templar down a few pegs as much as the next agent but Auroris' actions were ruffling the wrong feathers. The big issue here was that he wouldn't back down. Neither would Temple Hall. So how best to deal with all this? She got up and paced back and forth for a while.

Temple Hall wanted Sanctuary spies out. Well that wasn't possible. They didn't have any, not that Temple Hall would listen. Auroris needed to make some kind of token gesture to reassure them that he was not operating inside the hall. The problem was he was not one for gestures, especially if they seemed to be showing weakness. She started firing off blood darts at a board on the opposite side of the wall. A thought struck her. Rayne wanted the "stolen tech". Sophia knew Auroris well enough to know that he had plenty of time to recreate the tech. Maybe if he handed the gun that killed Kyle, with its bullets to them they would be willing to hear him out. As goodwill gestures went it was the best they had. Armstrong was not an option. From there Auroris could reassure them that he would withdraw his spies from the hall, or at least stop gathering information from them.

The way she saw it Temple Hall needed placating. Auroris needed to learn to start operating in the shadows again and Sanctuary needed to regain its reputation as a neutral party. This may go some way towards achieving that. Now she just needed to persuade Auroris of that.

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Kle    122

Kyle sat across the breakfast table from James. Unlike most mornings James was unusually quiet. Kyle looked at him carefully. After a while he asked "You ok James? You seem distracted"

"Huh" James seemed to focus on Kyle for the first time that morning.

"You really aren't with it today are you?" Kyle said "what's the matter?" James looked at him with a slightly sad look on his face.

"It's a little difficult to explain" he began. Kyle frowned at him. "Fine." James sighed "I have a meeting with Sanctuary today. I'm not looking forward to it" Kyle smiled

"What did you do?" James looked at him.

"It's more what you did..." James replied "they want an update on your condition " Kyle's face suddenly became serious.

"They already have me seeing a therapist. Don't they have the info they need?" He asked grumbling. James sighed again.

 

"It's because of your progress, or lack thereof, that they want to get my view. I'm not the only person they are calling on. They are trying to get a clear picture on what happened and how it's affected you" Kyle looked at him.

"Didn't they think to ask me?" He said

"Would you have given them answers?" James asked. Kyle thought for a moment.

"Probably not the ones they want. But I can't tell them what happened. I don't know myself." He replied, frustration tinging his voice.

"I know." James replied simply. There wasn't much more he could say.

 

"So what are you going to tell them?" Kyle asked. James thought for a moment.

"It really depends on the questions they ask. Don't worry. I'm not going to say anything to get you into trouble." He reassured Kyle.

"As long as you don't get into trouble. That's what important." Kyle replied.

"Thank you Kyle. You don't know how much that means." He stood up. "I've got to set off. I'll let you know as soon as they're done with me." Kyle smiled and walked over to James before hugging him and holding him tight.

"Knock 'em dead" he said with a grin on his face. James smiled but unlike Kyle he wasn't feeling so confident.

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Kle    122

Even though he was relatively new James had a fairly good idea of who was who in the Sanctuary Network. The people who were sat in front of him were unfamiliar though. He had half expected Auroris to be there or Sophia. A middle aged woman leaned forward.

"Mr. Hemsworth. Thank you for coming before this panel. You understand why you are here?" James carefully weighed up his answer.

"I have my suspicions. Unfortunately I doubt I will be able to provide you with any information of value" The woman looked at him.

"You would be surprised Mr Hemsworth." She looked at the others before turning to her notes. "On the day Mr Hudson was shot did you notice anything unusual?" James glared at her.

"Aside from the fact that my husband had been shot and was dead?" He asked bitterly. A young man, probably in his late twenties and if James had to guess newly promoted interjected before the middle aged woman could reply.

"We know this is difficult but the slightest thing could be the key to figuring out what happened and how Kyle returned to us. We appreciate anything you can provide us with." He glared deliberately at the woman who had first spoken.

"Quite." She said simply.

 

James sighed. "I have gone over that incident time and time again. I wish I could provide more details then I gave in my original statement but I really can't." The woman scoffed.

"You were centre of the room I find it hard to believe you did not see anything." She said

"Forgive me if I was savouring my first dance with my husband and not taking notes on every person in the room incase they chose to assassinate him." James snarled. He was rapidly growing to dislike her. The young man intervened.

"We have enough information about the incident Ms Raleigh. Our main purpose in calling Mr Hemsworth here was to ask about Kyle's behaviour on his return." The woman scowled. Throughout this exchange a man had sat silently listening with his hands steepled together. He coughed before saying

"In this instance your college is correct Ms Raleigh. Mr Hemsworth has a much better insight into Hudson's behaviour since his return. That is the key reason he is before us today." Ms Raleigh nodded but it was clear she was not happy with the the decision. "So please, in your own words Mr Hemsworth, describe how Mr Hudson has been since his return".

 

James looked at the man. He hadn’t named himself and the more James looked at him the more difficult it was to find anything distinguishable about him. He seemed to have an air of authority about him though. For a moment James wondered if Auroris was using some kind of Magic to disguise himself but thought better of it. He leaned back and appeared to consider the question for a moment.

“Since he returned?” James asked carefully. “Kyle has adapted surprisingly well given what happened to him. He has no recollection of the incident and only vague memories of his time in Egypt. From what he tells me they all begin with a man called Nassir but that is simply when he came to and does not explain how he got there.” Ms. Raleigh looked sternly at him.

“If we had wanted a status report we would have asked for one Mr. Hemsworth. It is his actions we are interested in.” This woman was intent on rubbing him up the wrong way. She was not the most understanding of people.

 

“Exactly how much detail are you looking for Ms. Raleigh?” James asked with forced politeness. “At 18:32 on the day he returned he had a sandwich. 18:40 he went to the toilet, I would guess he urinated by the sounds from the bathroom. At 18:45 he sat down and watched some TV, I believe he wanted to catch up on Fraiser. Should I continue?” James said pointedly. There was a chuckle from the unidentifiable man.

“That is not necessary.” He said “Forgive Ms Raleigh, she can be a bit brusque but she wants to get to the bottom of this as do we all.”

“Do not speak for me Malcolm. Mr Hemsworth is being deliberately insubordinate. We have ways of dealing with that.”

“We do.” Said Malcolm simply. “However he was answering your question.” He laughed. “Maybe if you actually asked him what you wanted to know and stopped treating this as an interrogation Mr Hemsworth would be more cooperative.” he suggested. The woman sighed.

“Very well, we will do this your way. Mr Hemsworth, have you noticed any changes in Mr. Hudson's behaviour since he returned?” She turned to Malcolm “Was that “nice” enough?” she asked pointedly.

“Spectacular” Malcolm replied with a huge grin across his face.

 

James sat and wondered how he should answer. He had known that this question was going to come up in one form or another. What worried him was their response to it if he told them. But he had to. Something was going on and try as he might he couldn’t figure it out. After a while he said. “On the surface he appears to be his usual self.” He was choosing his words carefully. “Something is different though. It is hard to put a finger on it.” James watched as they sat and stared at him. “He seems to buzz. Physically. It’s hardly noticeable. Not noticeable to anyone who meets him day to day. You would have to know him well or be around him for an extended period.” He noticed Malcolm’s eyebrow raise. “It’s like he’s slightly out of rhythm with the rest of the world. That’s the only way I can think of explaining it.” He struggled to find the right words. “He doesn’t seem to notice it though. In fact he seems ok physically and slightly faster mentally”.

 

The three people at the table began to have a quiet discussion. After a while Malcolm said “Interesting. That is, unusual. We have not come across anything like that before that we know of. Is there anything else of note?” James shook his head “Very well. We may well need to speak to Hudson and see him in person. He is due for a check up anyway.” He appeared to think to himself for a while. “Have you mentioned this to him?”

“I haven’t really found the best way of broaching the subject if I’m honest. “Excuse me you appear to be vibrating is not reassuring” is it?” James said

“A valid point. Best to wait until we can figure out what this is about. Thank you for your cooperation. We have a few more people to see, you can see yourself out.” James stood up and left the room. As he made his way back to the flat he had a nagging feeling he should have kept quiet.

 

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Kle    122

Kyle was curious. While everyone was trying to assign blame to his death or find ways to use his revival to their advantage he wanted to try to get to the bottom of the who’s and why's. Not that he was complaining. He was concerned that someone seemed to be taking steps to gather information secretly, going as far as setting up a fake Sanctuary meeting with James to see what he knew but other people were looking into that and he would have time soon enough.

He’d made his way back to Egypt. From what James had told him this was where he had been found. He had first headed to the Maryia base camp to talk to Nassir. He was the one who had made the call to James after all. Unfortunately for Kyle, even though he was happy to see him Nassir had very little information. Nothing that James hadn’t already told him anyway. However Nassir had managed to locate the team who had found him and they had agreed to take him back to the original location. After all he had been in no fit state at the time to even remember his name let alone where he was.

It had been a long journey. He’d been very lucky they had found him. The area they brought him to was way off any map that Sanctuary or the Faction’s had issued. In fact even the Maryia rarely went there. There was nothing of note and even the monsters gave the area a wide berth. There seemed to be nothing as far as the eye could see. The Maryia who had found him told him that they only patrolled the area every so often to make sure that nothing had changed. 

After a while the Maryia who had escorted him began to fidget. Kyle looked at them and smiled. He thanked them for their rescue and for helping him retrace his steps and told them he could make his own way back. The look of relief was noticeable. They nodded and quickly went back the way they came. He sighed and looked around, what on earth had brought him here? Or for that matter who? Nobody had records on what had happened to him after ODO had passed his body onto an unnamed party. 

But why here? What was so special about this area? He began wandering aimlessly away from the direction of civilization. It seemed like as good a direction as any other. As he wandered deep into the desert the thought kept going through his mind. Who had helped him?

After what seemed like hours walking he sat down. Nothing seemed to have change and he seemed no closer to understanding what had happened. He just knew one thing, something felt different. He couldn’t put a finger on it, physically he was fine and nothing mentally seemed wrong. But he knew something was different. He sighed, this was getting him nowhere. He reached for his Agartha Conduit, maybe James was having more luck. 

As he disappeared the sands moved where he had been sat, seeming to respond to the anima. Slowly they revealed a door. There was little chance of the tomb beneath being unearthed again. Not so soon and especially without Kyle or someone like him. A sand storm whipped up and as quickly as the door had appeared it was buried again.

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Auroris    160
Spoiler

Before I post this, I wanted to post a general apology. I keep meaning to post more stuff in here, but I never seem to remember when I have the time, and when I do have the time, I never remember. Sorry all.

Auroris considered.

He picked up his phone, and sent a message.

Come see me when you next have a chance.
A

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Kle    122

James looked at the message. He was mildly surprised. Not so much that Auroris had contacted him without having his number. He worked for Sanctuary after all, it wouldn't take a genius to get hold of that. More that he had sent him a message. He sat back and wondered to himself, what could he want? Well there was only one way to find out.

He headed out of the flat and made his way toward the nearest Sanctuary offices. He wasn't sure that Auroris would be there but he was fairly certain he would show up. As he approached the building he sent a message to the number.

I'm headed to the London Headquarters now. 

I have to say I am mildly intrigued.

James.

Short notice but James would not be surprised if the man already knew he was there.

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Auroris    160

As James walked through the door, the world blurred and he found himself somewhere different. Not like anywhere he had seen before at Sanctuary. Auroris was sitting there, watching him.

Drink?

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Kle    122

James smiled. He had heard Kyle talk about Auroris's skills. He was intrigued. He had expected something a little more... Painful. 

He looked at Auroris and smiled. "I will take a cup of coffee please" He looked around and found a stool. 

"So to what do I owe this pleasure?" He asked

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Auroris    160

Auroris poured James a cup of coffee and handed it to him.

First, this has nothing to do with Sanctuary, and in fact nothing to do with anyone other than the two of us. You will not say anything about it to anyone. I will exempt Kyle from this, because I know you'll tell him anyway, but nothing to anyone in Sanctuary, and very definitely nothing on Twitter, or anywhere else anyone would possibly hear about it. Are we clear?

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